Explosion destroys home in Washington, DC, suburb

According to authorities, the blast was so powerful, it shattered windows and caused other damage to several neighboring homes.

"Firefighters arrived to find a single-family home with complete blast explosion damage-a burning rubble pile, very large debris field and multiple nearby homes damaged", Piringer said.

As a precaution, utility workers turned off gas and power at the home and others nearby. A number of area residents have been displaced after fire and utility officials went door to door asking neighbors to leave for their safety. Yellow police tape cordoned off the site.

Goldstein said many people throughout the upper Bethesda and Kensington areas, which are both several miles away, called 911 to report hearing and feeling the explosion.

The damage is "catastrophic", Montgomery County fire department spokesman Pete Piringer said. The auction firm referred questions to Brock & Scott, the firm advertising the sale, but they did not return calls seeking comment. "There is no concern about a gas involvement in this explosion".

"Someone ran by and said "a house blew up" and then immediately it just sunk in", Ricci added.

Neighbors living across the street from the house spoke about the rude awakening. Authorities are still looking for the man who lived at the house, which was supposed to be auctioned off. But he said investigators would be exhaustively checking the rubble during the day as they try to pinpoint what had happened.

A house was completely destroyed and its occupant remains unaccounted for after an overnight explosion in Rockville, Maryland. "I was wondering, 'Are we having an earthquake?' But it was so short".

"My husband is insane enough to go all the way", she said, adding he captured video of the fire. She tried to get closer along with her daughter but she heard another pop which made her back away. She said her husband went ahead and captured video of the fire.

About 75 firefighters worked to extinguish flames within 20 minutes and the investigation into a cause has begun.

The neighborhood has seen a house leveled by an explosion in recent memory.

Piringer also said there were no reports of any gas leaks before the blast.

  • Larry Hoffman